Knitting, cooking, baking, collecting, puzzling, brewing, gardening, exercising… People across the world have turned to hobbies to get them through the stress of the pandemic. But what is it about these small hobbies that have drawn us all to them lately? And how can we find one we love?
How Hobbies Make Us Happy
Research has shown that just 20 minutes a week of a leisurely activity can make us less prone to stress. And some studies have even seen this associated with lower blood pressure and body mass index! Basically, our little outlet is actually a great way to lower levels of depression and negativity, and maybe even help our physical health.1
One way this happens is obvious. If you’re feeling stressed out, or overwhelmed by responsibility, picking up a hobby can give you a way to recharge by doing something you love. Not only that, but it can give your breaks from work some purpose. You’re using your downtime to be productive, instead of just sitting around watching television.
This productive feeling stems from a type of stress that is healthy—called eustress. This is great for people who are feeling under-stimulated, which can often happen in retirement (or in a pandemic lockdown). Your hobby can break up your schedule, or give you that meaning we all crave.
Hobbies can also be meditative. They allow you to focus on a specific task, and are often artful or mindful. Think of hobbies like woodworking, crafting, pottery, gardening, or even reading! By spending time working on a repetitive task, or doing something that requires concentration on small details, you can enter a state of meditation.
Of course, hobbies don’t need to follow a certain prescriptive formula. Anything that you find enjoyable, that gives you a sense of purpose can be a great hobby.
Finding A Hobby That Works For You
You may already have a great hobby that you just haven’t realized yet. This could be something you love doing, that translates directly into a passion. Maybe you loved eating at restaurants but are missing the experience now that the pandemic has us avoiding going out. What was it about eating there that you loved? Trying new foods and flavors? Cooking and baking were both huge hobby trends that started seeing more and more participants as the pandemic brought things to a halt.
Maybe you’re a movie buff or voracious reader, and you’ve seen every new streaming show there is, but are looking for a way to feel more productive. Could you have a novel or short story inside you, just waiting to be written? Reading and writing are both hobbies that tie in together nicely. And with the internet, blogging is a way to have your own little space—like a mini-review site, or a collection of poetry. That way, it can be a hobby for you, but can also be easily shared with others!
Another way people find hobbies they’ll enjoy is by reclaiming something they loved from childhood—back before they “grew up”. Think about the kinds of things you loved as a kid, before the realities of life took over. Maybe you realized in college there were opportunities in business, but that meant letting go of your passion for drawing. Taking an art class in retirement could be a great way to reignite that passion.
You may also want to check out Discover a Hobby. This website lists all kinds of hobbies, and sorts them into categories so you can easily find something you’ll love!
Exploring New Hobbies
The world of technology has changed the way we hobby. Stamp collectors and coin aficionados are growing fewer and farther between. After all, with things going digital, email has replaced much of letter-writing, and paying by card has created a whole generation who has no interest in coins. Of course, that doesn’t mean those aren’t still great hobbies. And they may even be more fun, now that fewer people are clamoring for the collectibles. Regardless, there’s no doubt that new technologies are impacting hobby life.
Genealogy has long been a passion for people of all ages. But with DNA technology, it’s now moved from chasing paper trails and digging through old records, to uploading and pairing genetic sequences. But that doesn’t mean the record keeping is gone. It’s just opened the door to that many more connections—and that many more newspapers to scour! Remember, genealogy isn’t just record-keeping of births and family connections. It’s the collection of stories that make this hobby a pastime. Like doing one big puzzle, the real reward is when the picture finally comes together.
Another hobby that has been created out of new technology (and out of staying at home in a pandemic) is home automation. It involves some new technology, so it can be a little bit daunting. But the innovations in security, appliances, lighting, HVAC units and more mean that it’s easier than ever to have a home you control from your phone! The great thing about a hobby like this is that it can stay as big or as small as you want. If having your whole home connected through your phone seems too much, start with a few lights and a voice assistant to control them. You may just find a whole new world to explore.
Keeping Your Cool In A Trying Time
Whether you have a hobby you’ve done for years, or are looking to take up a new one, it’s a great time to explore. Not only can a hobby keep your mind sharp, it’s a great way to manage your emotional wellbeing through a stressful pandemic.
And right now, we could all use as much stress-reduction as possible! If your retirement plans are causing you more stress and taking up time you could be better spending doing something you love, reach out to a Bankers Life agent today. Our agents can help make the stressful planning easy, so you can worry about glazing that new piece of pottery or writing that book—instead of worrying about whether you’ve done enough with your financial planning.
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